Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe has paid its dues to Global Fund and United Nations in line with its obligations of US$1 million towards the Global Fund and appeals for support and sought partnerships to strengthen primary health care in the country.
The Global Fund, which was created in 2002 is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics in low- and middle-income countries.
As an international organisation, the Global Fund mobilises and invests more than US$4 billion a year in support of programmes run by local experts in more than 100 countries.
Speaking during 6th Replenishment Conference organised by the Global Fund Forum in Lyon, France, which is seeking to raise US$14 billion to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, President Mnangagwa pledged Zimbabwe’s commitment towards the Fund.
The Head of State and Government expressed his gratitude towards the Global Fund for approving close to US$2 billion for Zimbabwe to fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
“Since 2002, the Global Fund has approved nearly US$1,7 billion to Zimbabwe, of which over US$1,3 has been disbursed,” said President Mnangagwa said.
“Let me express my profound gratitude for this invaluable support. As we build strong institutions, infrastructure and integrated services, we appeal for support and seek partnerships to strengthen primary health care, build and retain a competent health workforce to achieve Universal Health Coverage.”
President Mnangagwa said early detection and surveillance systems of the three diseases remained paramount.
“Over and above the National AIDS Trust Fund (NATF), my Government is developing a robust National Health Insurance Scheme and stepping up innovative domestic funding initiatives such as the traditional AIDS levy and the new Health Levy, to enable us to focus on the sustainability of our response,” he said.
Over 710 000 people are now supported by Global Fund in Zimbabwe out of a total of 1,2 million people on Anti-Retro Viral Therapy. Government made a US$1 million contribution at the conference as the country strives towards ending AIDS by 2030.
“We remain committed to continue to contribute to this worthy effort, and hereby pledge US$1 million.”
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube extolled the President Mnangagwa’s commitment towards the Global Fund. Posting on his twitter handle Prof Ncube said: “His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa giving his speech at the Global Fund replenishment event in Lyon, France. He acknowledged the critical role of the Global Fund in Zimbabwe’s flight against HIV, TB and Malaria. He pledged US$1 million towards the Global Fund.”
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the conference, jagged the finger at several countries for not pledging enough funds towards the fight against the three diseases.
He called specifically on Japan, Norway, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to “make more of an effort” to increase their contributions towards the fight.
The Global Fund forum aims to save 16 million lives within the next four years as well as averting 234 million infections worldwide.
Last year Zimbabwe was awarded more than US$ 502 million additional healthcare funding from the Global Fund.
The grants are implemented by the Ministry of Health and Child and Child Care and UN in collaboration with civil society organisations and the National Aids Council (NAC) to support HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes and run for three years.
UNDP is the principal recipient of the grants. Out of the total funding, US$426 million is earmarked on ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
President Mnangagwa is accompanied by the acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Professor Amon Murwira and other high-ranking Government officials at the conference.